Last month, we kicked off our inaugural "what's new and worth it" list—where I sift through the latest beauty product launches to tell you which ones REALLY deserve your attention.
Now, I'm back with the December newbies, and don't they look pretty?
Lots of makeup to talk about here—eyeshadow, mascara, nail polish and lip colours galore!—plus some fantastic skincare items and a cool new hair thing.
Here are my top picks for December 2015, in no particular order:
1. Versatile Eyeshadow Palette
Even if you're not a Gwen Stefani fan, the limited-edition Urban Decay UD Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette is worth a look. (I am surprised it's not sold out yet!) The packaging is SO nice, and has a much sturdier, expensive feel compared to most palettes. Inside, the 15-shade selection is a great mix of subtle neutrals, both shimmery and matte, and deeper evening colours, like that gorgeous reddish-brown in the top right corner. I probably wouldn't reach for the pink, blue or gold that often, but the rest, most definitely! As always with Urban Decay, the textures are super-buttery and they wear really well.
2. Dry Shampoo/Hairspray Hybrid
Dry shampoo and hairspray had a baby! Doo.Over Dry Powder Finishing Hairspray is the latest from Kevin Murphy, and it gives you the volume, texture and oil absorption of a dry shampoo, but with the soft hold of a flexible hairspray. What I love most is that there's no powdery residue or stickiness, and also the fresh scent. I know some people complain about drugstore dry shampoos having an overpowering "cheap" fragrance, but Doo.Over smells really subtle, elegant and clean. Yes, it is a bit similar to the cult favourite Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray, but the difference is that this gives you more control and is better at soaking up excess oil.
Where to buy: Salons (see here for locations)
3. Juicy Orange Lip Gloss
Just got my hands (lips) on the Maison Kitsuné for Shu Uemura Laque Sparkler Lip Gloss two days ago, and I'm already addicted. It comes in three limited-edition shades, and Persimmon Glow is the one you want. It's a deliciously citrus-scented orange with subtle shimmer and quite a decent amount of pigment. I think this would be the most useful product to get if you want something from the Maison Kitsuné holiday collab. Also: if you haven't tried orange lip gloss, please do! It is so surprisingly flattering; I would even venture to say life-changing. Give me orange over pink any day of the week.
4. '90s-Inspired Nude Lips
One of the most exciting bits of news this month is the return of the L'Oréal Paris Pro Matte Glosses. I must have missed them when they were out earlier this year as a limited-edition launch, but now (I think?) they are back permanently, and in more shades. The nudes are the standouts: 318 Bare Attraction is my fave, a peachy caramel similar to NARS Besame Mucho. Then there is 316 Statement Nude, a wearable, Kylie Jenner-inspired marsala; and 314 Nude Allude, a universally flattering "your lips, only better" shade. The finish is like a creamy liquid lip colour, not dry at all (I guess that's what they mean by "matte gloss"). These are incredible quality for the price and I feel like the colours are a bit '90s—very on trend!
Where to buy: Drugstores
5. 100 Percent Natural Bath Bomb
You probably know that I'm Consonant HydrExtreme's number one fan. (If you have no clue what I'm talking about, go here!) Now, the Canadian natural skincare company has come out with four Bath Bombs—and their ingredients list is so much better than, say, Lush's! Even though these are 100 percent natural, they still fizz like crazy and create a fragrant, luxurious soak in your tub. I tried Relax the other night, and it seriously made me sleep like a baby. Fun fact: Each Bath Bomb is the size of a regulation hockey puck! How Canadian of them.
Where to buy: Consonant
6. Fan Effect Mascara
I haven't liked a CoverGirl mascara in ages, so the new CoverGirl Plumpify Blast Pro Mascara took me by surprise—it is pretty great! Although not necessarily for the promise they make on the box. Supposedly, this delivers 50 times the volume, but I didn't find it spectacular in that regard. For me, this is a wonderful mascara if you want a "fanned-out" effect and beautifully separated, defined lashes. (Not sure if you can tell that from the pic above, I can never get accurate mascara shots!) Anyway, it holds curl very well, and is pretty non-clumpy. Most of all, I love that it doesn't smear throughout the course of the day, which is usually a problem for me. This is a solid all-rounder if you need a drugstore mascara option.
Where to buy: Drugstores
7. Lactic Acid Pads
Gentle exfoliation, and specifically acid exfoliation, is one of the skincare habits I recommend the most. My favourite is lactic acid, which helps give you clearer, glowier and more even-toned skin, with much less irritation than glycolic acid. You've heard me mention Lotion P50 a million times, because it's one of the few lactic acid-based exfoliators on the market. Now there's another option: the new Peel Pads from Canadian brand Laboratoire Dr Renaud. To be honest, I've found no difference between the two in efficacy, and find the pre-soaked pads way more convenient. It's good to have options! I've been using these twice a day with great results.
Where to buy: Medi-spas (see here for locations)
8. Velvety Winter Lip Colour
Revlon just launched Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor, a line of wax-free, gel-based, high-pigment liquid lipsticks. There are eight shades, and my top pick is 610 HD Addiction, which I'd describe as a true magenta, which is more unique than berry or fuchsia. I just adore this colour, especially for winter! Despite the name, the texture isn't really "matte" (that seems to be a theme today!). It's creamy, lightweight and comfortable, and doesn't dry you out. The one thing I will say is that the applicator isn't ideal for precision edges. I find the L'Oréal pointed tip easier to work with.
Where to buy: Drugstores
9. Happy Coral Nail Polish
More love for Revlon... this is one of 10 new spring shades of Nail Enamel, called Adventurous. (Yep, some of the spring beauty launches now arrive in December; so weird.) Don't mind my crap five-second application—the point is that it's an awesome coral. The kind of coral that just makes you happy when you look down at your nails. (I guess I mentioned I'm going through an orange period.) By the way, Revlon polishes are 5-free.
Ring by my friend's jewellery line, House of Cromwell!
Where to buy: Drugstores
10. All-Natural Creamy Cleanser
Now that we're heading into winter, complexions are getting drier and tighter. If you're looking for a face wash that will give you some extra nourishment (and not strip your skin!), may I suggest the new Dr Roebuck's Cleanse? This is a beautiful, 100 percent natural cream cleanser formulated with glycerin, shea butter, jojoba and macadamia oils. It's suitable for all skin types, and is especially good for sensitive, reactive skin. It's not greasy, and does remove makeup quite well, although I always follow up with my trusty Bioderma no matter what. In case you missed it, I'm also a fan of Dr Roebuck's Pure moisturizer. I pretty much love everything from this Aussie brand!
Where to buy: Murale
11. Extra-Sensitive Moisturizer
Another option for sensitive skin—in fact, extra-sensitive skin—is this new moisturizer from Vichy. What I like about Aqualia Thermal Extra Sensitive is that it doesn't contain any preservatives, parabens, colourants or alcohol, and is high in niacinamide, a great ingredient for skin. Like all Vichy products, it also features the famous Vichy thermal water. (Did I ever mention I once got to visit those thermal baths in Vichy, France? So amazing!) The texture is a cream-gel, but it is quite rich, although not oily. The one thing that bugs me is that there is perfume at the end of the ingredients list; however, the scent is extremely subtle, waaaay less than any other L'Oréal skincare product.
Where to buy: Vichy, drugstores
December is usually a quieter month in terms of beauty launches, as brands tend to focus on holiday sets and things like that. January is traditionally when a million new products come out—so just you wait, that will be crazy!
In the meantime, I've hopefully sparked your interest with a few things here...
What's your favourite new product this month?